Many moons ago, the pastor of a church was well looked after by the congregation. However, inflation, declining church memberships, and other financial concerns have led to challenging situations for pastors. Many pastors today rely on a side hustle – not from boredom or greed, but out of necessity to make ends meet.
A side hustle for a pastor should fit their experience and be acceptable according to their community’s standards. It is often easier said than done, of course. Many pastors find themselves in the market for a second job but not sure where to start. This list should provide some helpful inspiration!
1. Start A Religious YouTube Channel Or Podcast
Many people make a good living from YouTube channels, and pastors can use their profession, skills, and followers to start and grow their audiences to success.
Podcasts work on the same principle and are a great way to expand your followers and broadcast your gospel or related messages. You can also make a shortened version or extract from your weekly sermon and upload it for those who cannot attend church, like the elderly or sick.
You do need to grow your following to be able to monetize with either a YouTube Channel or a podcast. But if you have an engaging personality, interesting messaging (especially that might be aimed at a particular audience or demographic), and a few key technical skills – you may be able to turn this into a great side hustle.
2. Officiate Weddings on the Side
Pastors can officiate weddings outside of their church (though I know some may have alternative views on this). If you feel comfortable officiating weddings elsewhere, this can be a significant source of income.
In fact, The Knot estimates payment for an off-site wedding officiant ranges from $500-800, which could be a nice way to earn considerable extra income without a huge time commitment.
Some pastors may offer additional paid services, like pre-wedding counseling sessions, at a nominal fee.
3. Get Paid Speaking Gigs
As a pastor, you are likely a pro at public speaking and entertaining an audience. In addition, you’re knowledgeable on a variety of topics. As such, you can apply for paid speaking gigs at conferences, community gatherings, or educational institutions. An ideal low-time-demanding side hassle for a pastor!
Make sure you are on point on specific topic ideas for speaking, believe in what you portray, and make it entertaining. To start, try keeping an eye out for speaker requests for proposals (RFPs) and browse conference websites.
(As a bonus, you will indirectly be marketing your church and may even find that your congregation will grow.)
4. Create Online Courses
There are a number of online platforms that allow pastors to create and sell courses on topics such as theology, church history, biblical studies – or any other skill or interesting topic that you want to share.
Not only does this provide pastors with an additional source of income, but it also allows them to share their knowledge with a wider audience.
In order to be successful, pastors need to choose a good platform (for example, Thinkific, Teachable, or Udemy) that offers good customer support and provides tools for marketing their courses. They also need to create high-quality content that will engage and inform their students.
This method can be a little bit of an uphill battle as you need to already have an audience to sell to (or understand how to do paid advertising with a good ROI) – but it can be a great creative outlet that feels good to work in.
5. Become an Adjunct Professor
Many pastors find that adjunct teaching can be a great way to supplement their income. In addition to providing financial stability, adjunct teaching can also be a great way to share your knowledge and passion for your faith with others (if you’re teaching in subjects like theology).
However, there are a few things to keep in mind if you’re thinking of becoming an adjunct professor.
You’ll need to make sure that you have the time and energy to commit to teaching. Adjunct professors typically teach one or two classes per semester, in addition to their full-time job as a pastor. This means that you’ll need to be able to manage your time well and be comfortable with juggling multiple responsibilities.
Also, keep in mind that adjunct pay can be notoriously low – typically $2000 to $4000 per class, with some prestigious institutions being higher. Once you calculate out the number of hours spent prepping, teaching, and grading, it may not be as lucrative as you thought.
That said, you may be able to pick up these adjunct positions during “off times” from your pastor responsibilities, making it an ideal fit into your lifestyle. (And some classes may even be taught online from the comfort of your home).
Plus, teaching is another altruistic job that likely fits your personality well as a pastor.
6. Start A Wedding Rental Business
As a pastor, you’re likely already involved with many couple’s special day. What if you started a wedding rental business on the side that could be used to help get brides and grooms what they need?
This will require a bit of a financial outlay at first, but may pay off over time. For example, you might start a company renting a old-school vehicle for wedding photoshoots. Or maybe you start a rental company for large tents.
It’s wise to make sure the church doesn’t have a problem with you starting this type of business, as there may be a perceived conflict of interest in marketing to couples at the church.
7. Become a Freelance Writer
Not all messages and content are verbal, and the written word still dominates in the online world. Typically, people with speaking skills make good writers, and there is money to be made as a freelance writer.
The easiest way to start is to join freelance marketplaces on the internet, and pitch yourself to publications (print or digital) that you enjoy reading. Be sure to pitch specific article ideas that are catchy and engaging.
In addition, many professional book authors and influencers use ghostwriters to create their content. If you have a network of influential people, put yourself out there and mention you’re available for ghostwriting.
8. Try Tutoring
Were you a math whiz prior to jumping into the church? Do you love reading and writing? Are you a history buff?
All of these skills can be useful for tutoring. This could be at an elementary school, middle school, high school, or college level. Typically, as a student gets older, the rates for tutoring can become a bit more competitive as the subjects get more complex.
You can advertise your tutoring services online or through local community organizations. Many parents are willing to pay top dollar for quality tutoring services.
9. Become a Family Assistant
With more and more people leading busy lives, personal shopping and assistant services are in high demand. You can help busy families by running errands for them. This is a great way to make some extra money while helping others out.
Consider all these possible ideas for tasks you could help with:
- Make appointments for the family
- Booking travel arrangements
- Finding the best deals on clothes and fashion accessories
- Bring items to the post office
- Locating specific items of clothing or accessories that the customer is looking for
- Assist with returns and exchanges
- Taking the dog for a walk
10. Create an Etsy Shop
Etsy is an online marketplace where people sell handmade goods, vintage items, and craft supplies. If you’re creative and enjoy making things by hand ,starting an Etsy shop could be the perfect side hustle for you.
You could make religious-inspired jewelry or wall prints. Or maybe you can do print-on-demand apparel that has cute religious sayings (i.e. “All I need is coffee and Jesus”) or inspirational sayings.
Or, you could create helpful printables for sale that parents can use to teach their kiddos about religious concepts. (Canva is great for creating visually appealing printables!). In addition to Etsy, these teaching materials could also be sold on a site like Teachers Pay Teachers.
11. Grab a Gig Job
It’s not always glamourous, but grabbing a gig job may provide the flexibility and extra cash flow you need. Consider driving for Uber or Lyft, taking shifts as an Amazon Flex driver, delivering food with Door Dash or Grub Hub, walking dogs on Rover…all of these are easy side hustles that can be done during your free time.
They don’t take much planning or initial investment; you can just kind of hop right into it. It’s a nice option if you need something a bit mindless and detached, compared to the more emotional work at your church.
12. Improve Church Marketing and Ask for a Raise
This one theoretically isn’t a side hustle, but a way to earn more in your current position.
Consider improving the marketing and messaging for your church, to potentially attract new families and donations. For example, you might spend a little time improving the website with locations, ceremony times, prayer meetings, etc. A little search engine optimization may help your church website be seen by more people when they Google “churches near me.”
You might also improve social media marketing, like sharing quick videos or photographs with helpful captions. Consider entertaining or inspiring people to help them connect with you and the church.
This seems like a lot of work up front – but increased marketing power typically means increased church members, which can generate more donations. With more money flowing in, you may be able to negotiate a raise in your current position as a pastor.
The Bottom Line
Starting a side hustle is a great way for pastors to supplement their income and ease some of the financial burdens that come with the job. There are many different types of side hustles that are well suited for pastorpreneurship, so take some time to explore what options are available. And who knows? You might just find your new favorite hobby in the process!